Midsommar ★★★★★

Extremely my shit. Aster tells a meaningful story about grief, trauma and the crippling pain of not having anyone to lean on, wrapped inside of a psychedelic fairy tale under the Swedish sun. I can't express enough how much I appreciate the deft marriage between the two obvious components at work here; those being what's happening inside of Dani and what's happening around her. Midsommar is very much a triumph for the "world-building" alone. This cult/community/culture is so richly textured and imagined; there's hardly any gratuitous shock content shoved into it to up the scare count. Everything feels plausible, everything feels real. This goes a long way in allowing us to imagine ourselves in the shoes of the outsider Americans; to consider how'd we would react to the bitter, horrifying isolation Dani is forced into here; emotionally and physically. Her boyfriend is an absolute ass. There are obvious...circumstances working against them and straining their relationships. But Aster so importantly shoves the commune stuff to the periphery when it counts, and has faith that our protagonist's journey is compelling enough. And is absolutely is. Florence Pugh is a revelation (points also for ugly crying like a real human being), and her desperation to move past her grief and pain is achingly well executed and moving.

Midsommar isn't perfect. But you have to respect the ambition this sort of thing represents when you look at the other horror film currently in theaters, which is Annabelle Comes Home. This isn't a slight against the Annabelle, it might be a fine film. But Midsommar is a different breed of horror film entirely, so divorced from traditional fare that I admire it for that alone. It's imaginative. It's moving. It's shocking, creative and wildly unique. Points to the ending as well, which completely shifted my thematic reading of the film from something mournful or manipulative to something almost empowering and completely beautiful. Whether it be Aster's bold inversion of the typical horror setting or his resistance to over-explain this highly explainable story; I adore this for being a wholly unique experience. Also; I did my fair share of psychedelics in highschool and the trippy visuals here felt authentic (so points for the fun homework that was done).

2019 Ranked

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